Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, says that Crossrail 2 – the £20bn high-frequency, high-capacity rail line linking south west and north east London – is “vital”.
In a keynote speech, Johnson argued that even with the current Tube modernisation programme and the delivery of Crossrail 1, Crossrail 2 is needed to provide vital new capacity on the transport network to cope with London’s forecast population growth.
London’s population is expected to reach 10 million by 2030 and 11.3m by 2050. By 2050 the demand for public transport will have increased by 60 per cent on the Underground and 80 per cent on the national rail network compared to current levels.
“Crossrail 2 is a vital project not just for the capital, but also for the regions from which people travel in to London on packed trains each day of the week,” he said.
“With London’s population soon to surpass its previous 1939 peak of 8.6m, and with more people travelling by Tube and rail than ever before, we need additional rail capacity to support future growth.
“For the capital to remain globally competitive there needs to be continued investment in our transport network and that’s why we have to get cracking on planning for Crossrail 2. It’s an essential infrastructure project that will deliver thousands of new homes and jobs, as well as helping to keep our great city moving.”
The arrival of High Speed 2 in the early 2030s will result in particular pressure on the London Underground network, with potential for 30 minutes of queues at Euston to access the Victoria Line in the morning peak without Crossrail 2, according to estimates.
Johnson added that he was confident that, as with Crossrail 1, London could in the right circumstances contribute well over half the cost of Crossrail 2, reducing the demand on the UK taxpayer as a whole. And, if the pattern of Crossrail 1 were followed, over 60 per cent of the contracts would be with suppliers outside London, many of them small and medium-sized businesses, he said.
“London’s railways are already the busiest and most congested in the country, with many main lines operating at, or close to, capacity,” says Network Rail’s strategy and planning director, Paul Harwood.
“Working jointly with TfL we must press on with schemes such as Crossrail 2 so that public transport continues to support and drive economic growth in the capital and across the south east.”
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